Show Aired on 06/18/2011 Very Similar to Show Aired on 05/31/2008

Hi everyone.

I don’t have a question so to speak, but more so of an observation. I thought I recognized the opening story, so I went back to my Audiobooks, where I found a very similar episode of Car Talk that aired on May 31, 2008. With the exception of two or three callers, this is essentially the same show. The title of the episode that aired on May 31 was called “The Easy Way up Mount Everest,” and the most recent show aired was called “Book This, Rebecca.”

I was thinking the same – the caller with the desire to take her car out into the field and have people pay to destroy it was one that I know I have heard before. Are they in reruns?

This has been brought up here a few times over the last few months, and the consensus from the web lackeys is that, yes, they do indeed recycle bits of previous shows into new ones, so you will get some “reruns”. I don’t listen to the show anymore, preferring to get my fill of Car Talk by contributing to this forum and reading Tom and Ray’s newspaper column, but someone mentioned previously their suspicions were aroused about recycled material when a caller was asking about their Saturn and Tom and Ray suggested they pay a visit to their local Saturn dealership.

They’re always in reruns.

Truth is, they rarely do new shows anymore. What you’re hearing are bits and pieces from previous shows. That’s why calls are mostly about cars that are 15 or more years old. The puzzlers and opening bit may be fresh, or recycled as well.

IMHO, the brothers are tired and this is their way of ‘sunsetting’ the show. As more folks realize what is going on, they will find other things to do with their time. And when listenership falls significantly, the show will vanish.

Tom and Ray aren’t a lot younger than I am (I am almost 70). I finally retired this past spring. Tom and Ray should have the same privilege.

Nothing is stopping them from retiring, especially since they own the show. It’s just that we as listeners look forward to hearing new shows, not reruns.

How long has it been since the opening included an explicit disclaimer that “the following show is a classic episode of Car Talk”?

I’m used to summertime re-runs - when the puzzler is on sabbatical. But this week’s show (9/24/2011) has old cars AND an old puzzler from 2005. Something is changing…

Yes, the guys are getting lazier than ever, and are doing fewer shows than they used to. So we are plucking more great material from our 23 years of archives these days. And what you heard was a mixture of new stuff and archival stuff.

We’re not trying to hide the fact that it’s not a new program, we’re just trying to put out the most entertaining hour of Car Talk we can. And the problem with including an announcement is that the explanation itself is kind of confusing. Much of the material is, in fact, taken from the archives. But some of it is new and updated. What we air is actually a mix… stuff from the archives, with some new stuff and new transitions. That’s a hard thing to explain in one line at the top of the show. So we’ve opted to just air the show and hope it’s fun to listen to. It is for us here at Car Talk Plaza, so we figure it will be for others.

We are still recording new shows and I’m sure you’ll be hearing one soon.


Doug Mayer
Senior Web Lackey

Thanks for your response, Doug. So can you tell us when the next all-new show will air ? I want to make sure I tune in.

I’m overseas and listened to the show for many years through various AFRTS radio channels and immediately recognized the “Lief in Pennsylvania” call. That was the first time I recognized a repeat. Since we had the March 11th earthquake here in Japan I’ve been downloading the podcasts from the NPR website and listen when I have the chance and only a short time ago heard that show number 1138.

I’m a fair bit surprised that this has happened, and it seems has been happening for many months or more. It just didn’t seem like the kind of thing I would expect from these to fellas. At least, not the kind of thing that would happen without some sort of disclaimer.

Yes, Doug, wording might not be easy, but that’s a weak excuse, I am sorry to state. Just off the top of my head a simple; “Some calls are from archives.” is short and easy to understand. I’m sure a wordsmith could do better.

I’m just surprised right now. Not angry, just surprised. Just didn’t seem like a style I’d run into with these two fellas. I associate that kind of an underhandedness with other types. Maybe I’ve been stupid and my gut feeling that these two fellas were good guys was off the mark. Not putting up any kind of disclaimer is being underhanded, plain and simple. Sure, you can throw up all sorts of neat excuses we’d normally expect to come out of a politician’s office, but it doesn’t matter. I found out about this in an unpleasant way.

In fact, now that I am actually focusing on this a little better I realize that explains why I thought I was hearing about somewhat older models in recent shows. Funny I hadn’t recognized a repeat earlier than today. But then, that “Lief in Pennsylvania” call I used in an English class when I was teaching some ATC types at one of the bases. Had only cassette players then. None of these fancy ICRs we have now. Or maybe our post exchange didn’t have any ICRs for sale back then. Now that I’m away from government work I see a lot more of the civilian side over here.

Oh well, I suppose this is a good thing, though. I just joined the website and after listening to the show for so many years I guess it’s about time, right?

Still, I’m disapponted.

And, yes, Doug, I sent a message via the board and this post is just a repeat with more detail.

Too bad my first post here is a negative.

And so long, right?

But it is my first post so I best do a “HOWDY FOLKS!”

See my post for a response from Doug Mayer

Sooner or later, ALL of the calls will be from archives. These two are going to have to retire someday. (How old are they anyway?)

To DLichman: If you heard this Puzzler before, what’s the answer?

I was wondering about the new “head over to the cartalk forums where there’s tons of people who know more about cars than us” near the end of the show. Now it makes sense.

Puzzler hint: the five rows are not parallel.